If you’re a glass half empty type of person, you looked at this 25-0 Tampa Bay win over the Chiefs as a bad sign and one that shows this team is way off from where they were a year ago. However, I’m a glass half full kind of guy, so I offer this bit of information before I tell you how bad things looked on the stat sheet.
The Chiefs, coming out of the lockout, have not had a full 11 on 11 scrimmage yet nor have they had a practice in full pads. Todd Haley’s plan is to work the players into conditioning before subjecting them to punishing hits and Haley did his best to protect starters in Friday night’s game.
Several key starters on both sides of the ball did not play, meanwhile Tampa Bay’s number one unit played most of the first half. Example: Matt Cassel didn’t attempt a pass. Bucs’ QB Josh Freeman was 9 of 13. Jamaal Charles never touched the ball, Thomas Jones carried twice and defensive stars Derrick Johnson, Tambi Hali and Glenn Dorsey never stepped on the field for one play.
So given the fact that the Chiefs played 2nd and 3rd string after the first five minutes of the game, I’m willing to give this team a pass.
However, head coach Todd Haley pointed out three key elements that the team must work on. The first is eliminate early turnovers. The Chiefs had a bad center-QB exchange on their second possession that gave TB the ball inside the 10. The next possession, running back Jackie Battle was striped of the ball near midfield…turning those miscues into 10-0 lead for the Bucs.
The second issue is better QB protection. The Bucs registered seven sacks including a safety that gave them a 15-0 halftime lead.
The third area of concern was missed tackles. Tampa Bay averaged over four yards per carry.
The Chiefs were outgained 353 to 137 and were just 1 of 10 on third down conversions.